SEATTLE (AP) — Luis Torrens had only a brief moment to talk about the first pitching victory of his career.
He was too busy getting ready to catch the second game of the doubleheader.
Torrens became the first position player to earn the win in Seattle history after the Mariners rallied with two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning for a 7-6 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.
Seattle’s win locked up the No. 5 seed in the American League playoffs and a date with Toronto in the best-of-three wild card series. The Mariners’ victory plus Tampa Bay’s loss in Boston put the final touches on the AL playoff bracket.
But just as notable was Torrens’ unlikely win on the mound.
“I was excited. It was great to help the team win and it’s pretty cool to be one of the only position players to get a win this year,” Torrens said before racing off to a meeting to get ready for the second game.
Torrens is the first position player in the majors other than Shohei Ohtani to earn a victory since John Baker did it for the Chicago Cubs on July 29, 2014, against Colorado. He was just the second Mariners’ position player to ever pitch in extra innings, joining Jamie Burke in 2008, also against Detroit.
Torrens is also the first player to record a win in Game 1 of a doubleheader and start Game 2 as a position player since Rocky Colavito for the Yankees on Aug. 25, 1968, per the Mariners.
“We gave him a heads up earlier today that if it does go extra innings, he was going to be out there and I thought I did a great job,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
With the Mariners focused on preserving arms with the playoffs on the horizon, Torrens (1-0) started warming up underneath the stadium in the ninth inning and took the mound when the game went to extra innings.
He got the unlikely victory when Abraham Toro drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly and gave Seattle it’s 12th walk-off win this season.
“Phenomenal. Phenomenal. I know it helped out the bullpen especially, too,” said Seattle starter Chris Flexen.
Victor Reyes opened the 10th as Detroit’s automatic runner on second and Torrens allowed two deep flyouts, with the second by Riley Greene scoring Reyes with the go-ahead run.
Carlos Santana then singled off Gregory Soto (2-10) in the bottom of the 10th to score automatic runner Eugenio Suarez and tie it. Jarred Kelenic followed with a base hit to advance Santana to third and Toro hit a fly ball that was deep enough for Santana to score from third base.
“Today’s game doesn’t really affect things other than where we’re headed to play, but our guys don’t quit. They like competing,” Servais said.
Mitch Haniger and Curt Casali homered earlier in the game for Seattle. Reyes and Spencer Torkelson both hit two-run homers for Detroit and Greene had an RBI double.
Detroit led 5-3 after Reyes’ homer in the seventh, but Seattle rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning on two-out RBI hits by Ty France and Suarez.
Seattle’s primary concern was staying healthy ahead of the upcoming AL wild-card series and had a moment of worry in the sixth inning when Kelenic was hit by a 91 mph fastball from Detroit starter Eduardo Rodriguez. Kelenic was hit in the ribs and was down for a few minutes before jogging to first base and remaining in the game. Servais said Kelenic had the wind knocked out of him.
Seattle placed utility man Sam Haggerty on the 10-day injured list with a groin injury that will keep him out for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs. Haggerty was hurt during a stolen base attempt in the ninth inning of Monday’s loss and could have a significant trickle down on Seattle’s playoff roster because of his versatility. Seattle recalled Toro from Triple-A Tacoma to take Haggerty’s spot.
Tigers: RHP Will Vest is expected to start the second game as a bullpen day for the Tigers.
Mariners: LHP Justus Sheffield will start the second game after being added as one of the extra players for the doubleheader.